Last month, we talked about the innovator teacher's dilemma, and I would like to share my innovative experience with you.  I’m sure you have already heard of: Cross over teaching,  Teaching through smart boards, Flipped classrooms Collaborative Teaching Using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)  Technology and innovative methods of teaching And more Are you using all or some of them in your daily lessons? It’s widely known that the use of technology in the classroom helps to engage the students with different kinds of stimuli and, of course,...

Are you tired of listening or reading about how innovative teachers must be in the classroom? Especially now, during and after the covid-19 (years 2020 - 2021) when we were forced to reinvent ourselves and our classroom? Why are you tired of it? Maybe because it is tiring to be always looking for different ways of calling student's attention or to, at least, make them be more participative and acquire something out of it? Is this really the point? Or is it the experience? The learning? Well, we are teachers. We...

Coronavirus day 3.648: It feels like that, right? At least, it does for me.  Since this has all begun and we started teaching remotely, I have been re-reading all my academic books, trying to find various other approaches and/or methods for dealing with “emergency remote teaching” in a way that lessons will be meaningful, not only to students but also (and mostly) parents. As you well know by now, we are now teaching a second language to a larger scale. We are reaching families, which means we have to focus...

Who was prepared for a pandemic that would close schools for up to two months or even more? No one, for sure. We were all caught by surprise in a situation that we would never have predicted even in January or February of 2020. However, when we look at it more closely, maybe some educational institutions were better equipped than others – not for this pandemic, specifically, but for unpredictable situations in general, or, perhaps, for dealing with something that is intrinsically messy and complex: education in this...

The musical hit series Glee aired between 2009 and 2015. I remember watching it and thinking to myself: “What a wonderful and necessary series!”. Like most of Ryan Murphy’s work, there’s a lot of representation in it. And the fact that it focuses on teenagers making through high school makes it even more special as this was the target audience of the show. Last vacation I had the chance to spend some days off with my family and had a lot of contact with my 14-year-old niece. When I...

It’s expected that experienced teachers’ classes will be more peaceful and freer of problems than novices’. But let’s be honest: no matter how long you’ve been working in ELT (English Language Teaching), there will always be difficulties, since we are dealing with people. That alone already means facing the unexpected on a daily basis, not to mention the extra unpredictability commonly seen among groups of teenagers. So yes, there are issues which will always be there. Above all: indiscipline. At times we have our classes observed, and we panic...

It’s the beginning of a new term. You’re chosen to teach an upper-intermediate/advanced group. You’re excited to meet your new students, you plan a welcome activity so as to start off with the right foot. You enter the room, start the class and ask your new students to introduce themselves. And suddenly one particular student starts speaking. Their pronunciation is nearly flawless, they use a wide range of vocabulary and demonstrate control of simple and complex grammatical forms. And one inevitable thought crosses your mind: “This student speaks...

Year: 1999. Group: Basic 1. Place: Uberaba, MG – Brasil. Seventeen-year-old Ana Carolina stepped into a classroom for the first time. Young, restless, feeling entitled by her recently acquired C2 diploma and, most importantly: raw. Fluent, for sure. After one year of isolation from all Portuguese speakers in a cultural exchange program before cell phones or the Internet were even available, the mountaneer dialect flowed as if it were her own. Scared, she left the students in class in order to catch a breath and drink some water,...

My third piece of advice is to cultivate a sense of empathy - to put yourself in other people's shoes - to see the world from their eyes. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world. Barack Obama Empathy is 'the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions'. (Krznaric, 2014) Because of the many online groups we are part of, it's much easier to find ourselves in situations where our empathy is...

When the subject is teaching teenagers, there is always a cloud hanging over teachers’ heads. This cloud has a name and it is quite a familiar one: behaviour. As a rule of thumb, when we have a couple of teenagers together in one room, there will eventually be distraction, standing up, talking (or yelling), paper airplanes flying around, among other “issues”. Having these things in mind, in this post I am willing to share five tips that have helped me a lot throughout my career as a teacher. Build...

The educational field has been suffering attacks from all parts of society, in Brazil and around the world - differences do apply. This post is a reflection about the courage needed to make significant changes to the current scenario - that of turmoil where teachers, parents, students, the society seem to be taking to each other, but running around in multiple directions, either following trends and assumptions or neglecting to look at the big picture from each other's perspectives. The first point I would like to make is that...

Most of us cannot watch a film or an episode of our favourite series without trying to identify scenes that could be used in our lessons, right? Even if we just want to Netflix and chill, it just seems to be hardwired in our brains. In this post, I’ll take a look at some of my favourite quotes from some of my favourite films and TV series, to check how they apply to the English teaching context. “You know nothing, Jon Snow” (Ygritte, Game of Thrones) No matter how much...

As a teacher, I have often resorted to different methodologies and activities to make students more interested in my class. However, lately I have been curious about the learning processes of a language and I have been eager to understand in depth how especially teenagers go through such processes. Consequently, the following question has popped up: what if we can boost students’ language acquisition by sparking something in their brains? Much has been studied and said about neuroscience and how the brain takes in a language, but I have...

We hear about CPD, the acronym for Continuous Professional Development, all the time. Although CPD is not only about taking courses, they are certainly a prototypical concept and the number of courses aimed at teachers has been increasing steadily, or at least this is the impression I have. When it comes to courses, one of the most common questions we hear is “Is this or that course worth it?” or “Should I do this course or not?” The answers, however, are definitely not as simple as the questions....

The other day I was talking to an acquaintance who has a kid that goes to a language school to study English. As this acquaintance knows I am an English teacher, she started opening up to me about her feelings towards her child’s studies and she stated that she “did not feel like her daughter was actually learning English”. When I asked why, she said that she had the impression that her daughter would not be able to get by in case she had to speak English on a...

Since we are at the beginning of a new term or school year, we like reading articles and posts that are going to be useful. As you know, gamification is the new in-thing, so I will provide 3 ways of using edutainment in your classroom. A paramount point to be taken into consideration, entertainment wise, is that, if it is misused (wrong or unclear purposes) it can trigger parents and/or supervisor’s complaints, or even worse, students might not see the point of the task or might even not learn anything...

“Dear teacher, I’d like to say I have never forgotten your lessons and I’m grateful you have inspired me to follow this path.” This is part of a message I received last month. It is from a student I had over 20 years ago and who is now a successful teacher of English. I still remember her in my lessons, her brilliant compositions and perfect handwriting. She was a quiet student who I have never forgotten and reading her message made my eyes well up. Many of us have received these...

In this post I propose a discussion on how much emphasis we sometimes put on the teacher, trainers, book writers, speakers without discussing the impact on learners. For some reason we often rejoice in our achievements, which is great and definitely necessary to motivate us to reach higher. However, I still wonder when we will be able to collaborate towards quality education and real changes in the 21st century. Education for all learners in the various contexts we work in, development to the teachers that seek support and...

Criticism hurts. Hence, it can be stressful, tense and sometimes traumatic. Still, it is such a natural part of life, including professional life, that knowing how to make the best out of it is an important skill for us to keep emotionally healthy. Below I list a few aspects to consider and that can prove useful in our field. Criticism or feedback? We are faced with criticism on a regular basis and no matter where it comes from, we have to learn if it is meant to be...

Just like many readers of this blog, I was born and raised in the pre Google era. Actually, I am not sure there really is such a historical division, but I truly recommend one for those studying history. The world has dramatically changed after Google, and these changes have affected a lot of areas, including education. Back in the days before Google, for example, we would need an expensive encyclopedia (a set of 20, or more, large, thick volumes) to do our school researches and homework. So, yes, in...

This year, 2018, is a landmark. Schools across the globe, from kindergarten to high school, starting this year, have now only students from the Generation Z. That is, young people in school age were all born in the 21st Century. That brings us the need to understand this generation, the way they act, the way they behave, the way they see the world around them and think. There are some remarkable differences in the mindsets of these young people compared to the ones from other generations. I will only point out some that...

We all want a positive work environment where we feel safe to share our ideas, projects, concerns, and challenges… where we can offer and seek advice aiming at a greater good: helping learners reach their goals and becoming the best possible professional we can become. Right – that’s a lovely goal. How can we make it happen? First and foremost, we have to remind ourselves that our professional development is our own responsibility – nobody else’s. Jordan Catapano’s article on Professional Development and the Teacher Leader can give us great...

  Every professional in the realm of education has the power to influence positive change, for instance, aligning theory to practice as extensively discussed. In this post, leadership will be brought to light for a discussion on how educational leaders may contribute to building the learning environment and causing a great impact on education. Firstly, we are assuming that the more senior you are, the more chances you have to affect the lives of learners somehow connected to you. That means a trainer may impact teachers, who will in turn...

We often discuss this question both in the field of education and during informal conversations elsewhere. A similar debate is not that frequent among other professions, for instance we do not seem to ask whether doctors are born or need to study hard to develop. Many people advocate that teachers choose to work in the area out of passion or due to vocation. Contrasting it to other occupations and you will be glad to board a plane whose pilot is not simply someone who loves flying (Green, 2015)....

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the lack of balance in the past BRAZ-TESOL conferences as far as gender was concerned. Just to refresh our memories, the results were the following[1]: As I stated at the time, it was (and is) not a matter of pointing fingers and finding culprits, but of trying to understand why the number of female speakers is so low in BRAZ-TESOL conferences which, I believe most of you would agree, is the most relevant conference for ELT professionals in Brazil. It was...

It is a fact that the crisis has arrived at schools in Brazil. There is usually a delay in the effect of the crisis on regular schools compared to other businesses, especially because parents resist to make any changes in their children's education, unless there is no other option after they have cut all other less important expenses. But the longer the crisis lingers, the more likely it is for the regular schools to start feeling its effects. This is happening now here. This year, one million students have...

PART 1: from the early 90’s to the early 2010’s What you are about to read is by no means to be regarded as an accurate description of ELT practices in Brazil throughout the last 3 decades. Rather, what I attempt to describe below is simply my very own perception of how ELT has throughout the all these years positively added on, rethought, deconstructed and reconstructed itself to stay in tune with global changes and, more importantly, with the local societal changes that more than ever have been the...

I usually find myself looking for formulas or easy ways to solve these little problems we come across in life, such as a way to fix something on my smartphone that is not working properly or how to use a specific tool to make my job easier. In this regard, the internet has helped us a lot providing the kind of information we need and the solution for our problems in a few seconds. And that’s great! It saves a lot of time in our busy routines and...

For the past few years, I've been drawn into the world of cognitive sciences and what learning is, what it entails, and how the brain works. To my mind, all teachers should have sound knowledge on the way the brain functions as it is the brain the ultimate place we work on. How could you possibly know that the things you've chosen to do in class work or not, and how can you assess the situation and perchance change tactics and your approach if you cannot fathom the...

If you have spent some time online in the past months, particularly on Facebook, you may have come across a number of posts followed by hundreds of comments, basically related to gender equality, or lack of it, in ELT events. Gender equality in general is an issue that has been discussed for a long time, hence Women’s International Day (celebrated on March 8th) and Women’s Equality Day (celebrated on August 26th). Although the demand for gender equality is not new, in most professional areas the balance is far...

There's no need to remind you that technology is pervasive in our lives. It's everywhere. However, my main paradox is that I see my kids going to school and having very little use of it as a tool for development, personal growth and inquiry. It is a huge paradox because for the past decade I've been working with educators and educational leaders to meaningfully incorporate edtech in their practices. Yet, in my own home reality is far from ideal. What I feel is that my kids are more...

First we had industrialization. Then this was followed by electrification, which in turn preceded the age of digitalization. And now, apparently, we are accelerating at what seems like breakneck speed towards what the International Bar Association calls the 'Industrial Revolution 4.0'. This fourth industrial revolution is being, and will be, marked by dramatic changes in the way people live, socialize and work. The driving forces behind this massive shift are the rapid developments in robotics and 'deep thinking' software. As a result of these developments, a January 2017 report from the...

I think that we can all agree that learning a language is a complex process, involving complex systems. By complex systems, I mean a process of complex behavior which emerges from a few simple rules. All complex systems are networks of many interdependent parts which interact according to those rules. It is a process which is neither linear, nor incremental. This contrasts with the input hypothesis theory, which has been the prevalent paradigm over the last twenty years or so. The basic premise was that input would be processed,...

If you look up the word ´mantra´ in a dictionary, you will probably come across one of two defintions. Firstly, it can be a sacred verbal formula used in Hinduism, which is repeated in prayer or meditation. Or secondly, it is a commonly repeated word or phrase, which often becomes a truism, regardless of its validity. Both definitions can be applied to language teaching. I recently helped run a CELTA course here in Brazil. In the final fourth week of the course, I decided to ask the trainees what...

The performance of Brazilian students in national and international assessment tests has been consistently low, which has led researchers to look into the reasons for the inefficiency of our educational system. A study conducted by Fundação Carlos Chagas has found that the programs offered by most universities in the area of teacher education do not prepare teachers-to-be to face the routine of a real classroom. The emphasis of these programs has been on the sociological, political, structural and historical aspects of education, with very little space for the...

[caption id="attachment_1010" align="aligncenter" width="640"] https://mkhmarketing.wordpress.com[/caption] I still haven´t convinced you to try out Twitter even with Twitter for Professional Development and Try Twitter Before Ignoring It? Here are two additional reasons for you to join the educational crowd on Twitter. This week, the international education conference, Transformar, A Educação Está em Evolução, is happening in São Paulo, and you can follow along where?! You know where. TWITTER. Many of the participants are backchanneling, which means they are broadcasting via Twitter the interesting things they hear and pointing to resources, as...

In a plenary delivered at a symposium in Turkey in December 2012, Lindsay Clandfield talked about education and how things have changed (especially because of technology, globalization and the how both have changed social and work relations and demands.) He talked about how experts, academics and everybody else connected to education said there had to be big changes in education, in the way people teach (because learning has changed, the demands and needs of learners have changed) and that we are on the brink of major changes.  Up...